Mexico Drug Trafficking Organizations Threaten Country

Credit: Library of Congress

These excerpts are from a sobering report on Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) from the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress titled Mexico’s Drug Trafficking Organizations: Source and Scope of the Rising Violence

The two big cartels are Sinaloa and Los Zetas. Sinaloa prefers to corrupt while the Zetas terrorize to get their way.


Sinaloa reportedly has a substantial presence in some 50 countries, including throughout the Americas, Europe, West Africa, and Southeast Asia. Often described as the most powerful mafia organization in the Western Hemisphere, Sinaloa is also reported to be the most cohesive.

Think about that. Sinaloa is bigger and more powerful than the American Mafia.

Los Zetas

Since February 2010, Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel have been battling in Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, and other Gulf territory for control of drug smuggling corridors. What is especially significant is that in order to fight Los Zetas, the Gulf cartel has allied itself with two former enemies—La Familia Michoacana (LFM) and the Sinaloa cartel—creating an environment of urban warfare with commando-style raids on state prisons, abduction of journalists, murder of police, and attacks on military posts. They have organized elaborate road blockades during their violent operations to prevent legitimate police from responding.

This is open warfare between criminal insurgencies. What’s happening in Mexico is a poisonous new hybrid combining criminal organizations and insurgencies.

The “kingpin strategy” backfired

A “kingpin strategy” implemented by the Mexican government has successfully “taken down” numerous top- and mid-level leaders in all the major DTOs, either through arrests or deaths in operations to detain them. However, this strategy with political decentralization has contributed to violent succession struggles, shifting alliances among the DTOs, a proliferation of new gangs and small DTOs, and the replacement of existing leaders and criminal groups by ones who are even more violent

Criminal diversification of the DTOs.

In addition to selling illegal drugs, they have branched into other profitable crimes such as kidnapping, assassination for hire, auto theft, controlling prostitution, extortion, money-laundering, software piracy, resource theft, and human smuggling. The surge in violence due to inter- and intra-cartel conflict over lucrative drug smuggling routes has been accompanied by an increase in kidnapping for ransom and other crimes.

Somewhere behind of of this is a worldwide network of corrupt banks and hedge funds that launder the money.

And the madness continues

Americans shot in Mexico were CIA operatives aiding in drug war.

CIA operatives in Mexico were attacked and ambushed by Federal Police while traveling in an embassy SUV with diplomatic plates. No one has yet explained why the attack happened, if it was accidental or a deliberate ambush.

The notion that a squad of federal police officers would attack an embassy car could be another blow to the developing trust and cooperation between American counternarcotics personnel and their Mexican partners.

Ya think? The really scary part is that police and military in Mexico can’t really be trusted. They might be clean or they might be working for a cartel.

Even more brutal leader takes over Zetas

A falling out between the leaders of the hyper-violent Zetas cartel appears to have put the gang in the hands of a brutal and feared gangster who has been blamed for an eruption of bloodshed in Mexico’s once relatively calm central states.

The Drug Trafficking Organizations are a serious threat to the stability and prosperity of Mexico and no one really knows how to stop them.